Captain Bernard J. Boyle
United States Air Force (1964-1969)
Brookline Flier Killed Off Japan
Air Force Says Jet Crashed
A Brookline man has been identified
by the Air Force as one of two fliers killed when their jet plane crashed
off the coast of Japan.
Officials said Captain Bernard J.
Boyle, 26, whose parents live at 821 Rossmore Avenue, was lost when his
aircraft went down on Tuesday, August 19, (Pittsburgh time) while returning
from a training mission to Misawa Air Force Base.
The plane was piloted by Major
Neal Graff of Riverside, California.
Captain Boyle's parents said his
wife, Sharon, is expecting a baby soon.
A graduate of South Hills Catholic
High School and Wheeling College, Captain Boyle entered the Air Force in
He arrived in Japan in October of
1967 and was assigned to the 356th Tactical Fighter Squadron.
Besides his wife and parents, he is
survived by two brothers, William G. and Robert E. of Sufferin, NY, and two
sisters, Mrs. Barbara B. Wikert and Mrs. Bernadette Delach of
Memorial services will be held at the
Church of the Resurrection, 1100 Creedmoor Avenue, Brookline.
* Reprinted from the
Pittsburgh Press - August 23, 1969 *
During the Vietnam War, the 356th Tactical
Fighter Squadron, was deployed to Misawa Air Base, Japan, on March 16, 1965.
Assigned to the 39th Air Division, the squadron's mission was to support Misawa in
Japan, along with Taegu Air Base and Kunsan Air Base in South Korea, all of which
had just been reactivated.
From Misawa, aircraft and personnel of the
356th rotated six F-100D aircraft every ten days to Kunsan and Taegu performing
Nuclear alert duty. The 356th was on a TDY status to Misawa Air Base until August
13, 1965, when it was permanently reassigned to the 39th Air Division.
In August 1967, the F-100's were sent to
Vietnam as replacement aircraft and the squadron converted to the F-4C-16-MC
Phantom II. On January 15, 1968, the 475th Tactical Fighter Wing was activated at
Misawa and took over as host unit from the 39th Air Division.
On January 23, 1968, as a response to the
capture by the North Koreans of the USS Pueblo, the 356th was immediately dispatched
to Kunsan. For a week, the squadron was the only nuclear deterrent at Kunsan. The
unit returned to Misawa and continued their operational duties until 1971, when it
was reassigned to Myrtle Beach AFB.
The following was written by
Captain Bernard Boyle's niece Sharon Jean Senaway:
Bernie was born on September 16, 1942, the
fourth child, and third son, born to Eugene J. Boyle and Catherine Galvin Boyle,
who resided in the Brookline area of the city of Pittsburgh. He was the beloved
brother to Barbara Boyle Wikert and William G. Boyle, Robert E. Boyle and Bernadette
Bernie grew up in Brookline on Rossmore Avenue
and attended Resurrection School for eight years, where he served as an altar boy
at Sunday masses. Bernie loved participating in sports, having participated in Little
League baseball. His high school years were spent attending South Hills Catholic High
School (now known as Seton LaSalle), located in Mt. Lebanon. He graduated in the first
graduating class of 1960 at the all male high school. He was a member of the band for
three years as a trumpeter. He was a well-liked student and participated in many
activities during his time in high school.
Bernie went on to attend Wheeling College in
Wheeling, West Virginia, were he proudly graduated on May 17, 1964 with a Bachelor of
In 1964 Bernie entered the United States Air
Force. He was stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas in November 1965. He went
on to serve at Air Force bases in Selma, Alabama and Florida. In Alabama he took his
initial flight training and met his future wife, Sharon Edwards. They were married in
Selma on April 1, 1967. While stationed in Florida, Bernie went through advanced
Bernieís overseas tour commenced on October 25,
1967, when he and Sharon Edwards Boyle arrived at Misawa Air Force Base in Japan. The
base was located very close to Eastern Russia, in the northern most part of Japan
called Aomori province. He was assigned to the 356th Tactical Fighter
On August 20, 1969, Captain Bernard J. Boyle was
a pilot on a USAFT-33 aircraft along with co-pilot Major Neal Graff of California. The
pilots were on an operational training mission returning to Misawa Air Force Base.
They were approximately twenty-eight nautical miles east of the base when the aircraft
went down mysteriously off the coast of Japan into the Sea of Japan. Search craft found
the helmets of Captain Boyle and Major Graff but were unable to locate the aircraft at
that time, according to Air Force records.
At that time, Bernieís wife, Sharon, was expecting
the coupleís first child and she gave birth to a baby girl on August 29, 1969, just nine
days after her husband's disappearance. The baby was named Bonnie Bridget Boyle. Bonnie
will turn fifty later this month. She is married to Joe LeFebvre and they have three
wonderful sons; Tyler, Brandon and Eathan. Bonnie and family call Uxbridge, Massachusetts,
their home. Sharon eventually remarried. She and her husband Ross Detwiler went on to have
The loss of Bernie left so many heartbroken. Bernie
was loved by his parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins. Fifty years
have passed and there is not a day that goes by that we donít think of him. We thank Uncle
Bernie for the love he gave to all of us while on this earth, and especially for the
service and sacrifice he made for this country.
God Bless you Uncle Bernie. You are never
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